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Dot dot com

D
ot.com companies. The term might seem to make sense at first glance (assuming you're not a fuddy-duddy who recoils at any attempt at shorthand or whimsy), but look again and you'll see one dot too many. Dot.com equals dot dot com.

So write dot-com companies when you have the occasion to use such a term. If the loss of the cute little dot itself troubles you, ".com" companies would also be a valid style choice.

To write dot.com, however, displays ignorance of the reason you're writing "dot" in the first place -- the fact that people have come to pronounce that punctuation mark. (Why the pronounced "dot" has become a convention in speech is an interesting question.)

A talking point

Before the Internet became a topic of mass conversation, my instinct was to use a pause to indicate the break between the domain name and its suffix, as in "Amazon [short pause] Com." Some argue that pronounced punctuation is sometimes necessary for clarity, but how exactly would pronouncing the dot make something like Dotnet.net easier to comprehend? I'm conceding defeat on this front, but my convention would have resulted in a much clearer "Dotnet [not-so-short pause] Net."

For further ruminations on the topic, call William F Period Buckley at 555 hyphen 1212.


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